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Old 09-29-2012, 09:19 PM
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Default My first Shindo experience...

Last Sunday my friend Gregory and I went over to hear my friend David's full Shindo system.

I helped him set it up a few weeks ago, but we couldn't get sound out of one of the amps. Turned out it had a volume control that was turned down (though the volume control is neither positioned where one would expect, nor looks anything like, a volume control).

Anyway my friend David got Matt at Pitch Perfect to help him get it sussed, and we had a nice listening session at David's house.

Here's a pic of the system in the Lingolab cabinet...



Monbrison preamplifier complete with phono stage, and Lafon monoblocks. All in gorgeous condition. The CD/SACD player at left is an Esoteric (X-05, I believe) which sounds bloody fantastic.

Speakers are Altec speakers in a furniture style cabinet with a large paper cone and horn tweeter/mid, and redone by Shindo himself (IIRC, Shindo made improvements to the crossover). Auditorium interconnects and speaker cables, and Shindo power cables throughout connected to a Mr T power distributor.

Overall, the music was magical, and very easy to listen to for hours on end. The midrange and musicality of this system are absolutely gorgeous and to die for, and there is a real presence and you are there quality that is pretty wonderful. Acoustic jazz and voice are very special on this system. Also the system has a large and spacious presentation, so it doesn't matter where you sit, you get great sound. David and I preferred sitting way back from the speakers, while Gregory tended to sit in the classic equilateral triangle sweet spot. But, it didn't matter where you sat, it sounded wonderful. With the initial setup, I thought there was a bit of smearing of the upper bass/lower mids so we played with sliding the Altecs out from the wall (they were pretty close to the wall initiallyk), and it was remarkable how much difference it made. You could slide the speakers out or back an inch and hear a difference. We ended up with a position where the speakers were probably 4 inches or so farther out from the wall than originally, and this seemed to give the best blend of bass/lower mids clarity/articulation and midrange/highs performance.

I don't think we played any hard rock per se, but some Smoke Fairies and Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia, a lot of jazz and jazz vocal content.

Regarding system shortcomings, only a few: I would say that the bass could be a bit below 50Hz could tighter, better articulated and more defined. We used a spectrum analyzer on our iPhones and there wasn't much output below 50 Hz. On full-scale classical, e.g. Berlioz' Symphony Fantastique, there was a bit of congestion in terms of rendering orchestral instruments cleanly during dynamic passages. I attribute this to the fact that 8 watt SETs just can't quite muster enough grunt to fully render this type of content absolutely cleanly and with all instruments fully and separately delineated when things get REALLY dynamic. You do need some horsepower to play full-on classical, methinks. I think power pentodes are probably better here than SET amps, or a big, but sweet, SS amp, like a Pass, Premier 350 or Burmester. If you listen to jazz or small ensemble classical or solo or small ensemble voice, though, this is the system is for you 'cause the mids are gorgeous. We also listened a Janos Starker classical cello recording that sounded very beautiful, with excellent rendering of the ambience of the hall "space".

While the Altec/Shindo speakers do not sound anything like horn speakers at all, on some specific content, e.g. male voice, I noticed a slight "chestiness" to the sound that I attribute to a large, fairly flexy cabinet. Love to hear this system with some DeVores or Zu speakers.

Whatever departures from neutrality or colorations this system has, they are all very musical and euphonic, so the overall listening experience is very pleasurable indeed. It's very much a curl up on the couch and just enjoy the music kind of system.

And at the end of the day, that's what it's all about.
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Last edited by Puma Cat; 09-29-2012 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 09-29-2012, 10:16 PM
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Aha! A CJ owner listening to Shindo! What's your take on the differences in sound/soundstage etc. compared to CJ, Puma?
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Old 09-29-2012, 10:37 PM
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It's really impossible to make any assessememts of sound/soundtage with two completely different systems in two very different rooms.
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conrad-johnson CT-5 and LP70S, Michell Gyro SE MkII, SME V, Koetsu Urushi Vermilion w/ EAR324, Oppo BD-83SE, Sonore OpticalModule with Uptone Audio LPS-1.2 power supply, Uptone Audio EtherREGEN, SOtM UltraNeo with Keces P3 power supply, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet & Alpha USB cables, Schiit Gungnir Multibit Gen 5 USB DAC, Schiit Loki DSD DAC, Mac Mini/Roon, Harbeth 30.2 or Dynaudio Contour S3.4 w/ Esotar 2 tweeters, REL R-305, Shunyata Delta and Venom ICs, Shunyata Venom speaker cables, Shunyata Delta NR & EF, Venom NR-V10 and NR-V12 and Venom V14D power cords, Shunyata Denali 6000/S V2,
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Old 09-29-2012, 10:54 PM
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I knew you'd say that.
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:10 PM
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Stephen, I am glad you had a chance to experience a nice Shindo setup. I will cherish the memories of my own experience of having once owned Shindo gear, the listening sessions were often simply magic. If I build another system for another room any time in the near future, I will seriously think about another Shindo setup.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:00 AM
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Sounds like things may have been a little lack luster? Could be the tubes need some burn in time or maybe just the tube choice themselves. As we all know this hobby is about a great match, perhaps the Altec's are simply a bad match for this set up?
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:25 AM
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No, things were not lack luster at all; my comments about the Altecs are minor niggles.
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conrad-johnson CT-5 and LP70S, Michell Gyro SE MkII, SME V, Koetsu Urushi Vermilion w/ EAR324, Oppo BD-83SE, Sonore OpticalModule with Uptone Audio LPS-1.2 power supply, Uptone Audio EtherREGEN, SOtM UltraNeo with Keces P3 power supply, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet & Alpha USB cables, Schiit Gungnir Multibit Gen 5 USB DAC, Schiit Loki DSD DAC, Mac Mini/Roon, Harbeth 30.2 or Dynaudio Contour S3.4 w/ Esotar 2 tweeters, REL R-305, Shunyata Delta and Venom ICs, Shunyata Venom speaker cables, Shunyata Delta NR & EF, Venom NR-V10 and NR-V12 and Venom V14D power cords, Shunyata Denali 6000/S V2,
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:49 AM
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I've seen this system on A'gon I think. Great photo! Thanks!
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:29 AM
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Thanks Stephen. Nice write up !
I would have loved to see a pic of the whole system.
I am not sure if I agree with the lack of extreme bass and light inability to deliver very heavy dynamics of SET amps. I have heard 5W SET amps which were sounding incredible on the adequate speakers ( Audio Note and Verdier 300B ).
Shindo's more powerful PP amps allow pairing with much more speakers of various impedances / sensitivity but of course choice is more limited than with big tube or SS amps. And yes, they sound magic too.
The connection with the music with Shindo gear is unique.
It would be very interesting to try this Monbrison in your home and see what it does compared to your CJ preamp.
My belief : conventional companies cannot spend the time and efforts Shindo did while selecting components by ear. Most of the time, the big companies select products based on tech spec and reliability. Not sound.
So the difference in sound that you get between Shindo and most brands is not small. It is huge.
Shindo does not sound like anything else and yet, it is not "warm" or colored in any way.
Wether you like it or not is an other story.
But my guess was that you would feel this "magic".

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Old 09-30-2012, 02:20 AM
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Wow- great write up, and thanks for sharing. What sticks out to me is how impressive the system was with a digital source. I would guess with a good TT, your experience would have been that much better.
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